Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho has confirmed that former 400m golden girl Amantle Montsho will not compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics, slated for Brazil in August.
The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) slapped the 33 year old former 400m champion with a two year suspension after she tested positive for a banned substance (Methylehexaneamine) at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Montsho will complete her suspension in June 2016, the same time during which the Olympic qualification period closes; which therefore slays her chances of qualifying. Serufho said the BNOC will not be able to squeeze her into the qualifiers.
“One can qualify for the Olympics through two ways; outright qualification based on the time that they would have made as set by international bodies; or through an arrangement called wildcard where countries may have not qualified in a particular platform. Because Amantle is currently sanctioned, we are unable to submit her name as a wildcard candidate,” he said.
Serufho further explained that Montsho can only have a chance at qualifying if she campaigns for her sentence to be reduced by a few months, which is highly unlikely. The suspension has rendered Montsho ineligible to compete in any Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) events, be they national championships, cross country competitions or field and track events; as stipulated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) statutes. She is also not permitted to participate in coaching or administrative projects. However, she is allowed to partake in educational campaigns in which she teaches other athletes about the dangers of doping.
“She can only come to athletics events as a spectator, nothing more,” said Serufho.
Montsho will have to do a lot of catching up when she returns; which will include rigorous training for her to regain her old form and return back to fitness.
“We believe Montsho has learned from her experience. When she returns she will be entitled to every opportunity just like any other deserving athlete. I have no doubt that she will be more careful about what she ingests going forward,” Serufho said.
Meanwhile Montsho has started gym and field training to prepare for next year’s IAAF events and ultimately world championships.